A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with Chris Salcedo (host of The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze radio) and he reminded me of this comment that President Barack Obama made back in 2001:
Obviously that clip isn’t new and you’ve probably heard it several times before. But when Obama was running for president back in 2007, I don’t think most Americans knew quite what to make of these comments.
Now that we can compare them to what Obama has done during his time in office, we can see that he was giving us a very clear indication of his approach to government. It’s an approach that should be terrifying to everyone who values their freedom.
As I explained during a very spirited segment on The Chris Salcedo Show, Obama’s perspective on government is the complete opposite of our Founders:
This one audio clip teaches us that Obama doesn’t understand the basic purpose of the U.S. Constitution. He believes that a constitution is something that should empower the government to provide for people. But that’s not what our Constitution was designed for.
The overriding concern when writing our Constitution wasn’t to empower government; but to restrict it. The Founders knew that the bigger threat to this country didn’t come from the government not doing enough on behalf of the people. The bigger threat comes from the government becoming too powerful and doing too much.
That’s why the Constitution includes a variety of mechanisms (like the separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, etc.) that are all designed to prevent the federal government from growing its power and violating the rights of citizens.
[sharequote align="center"]Overriding concern when writing our Constitution wasn’t to empower government; but to restrict it.[/sharequote]
We need to be protected from the power of government because we live in a flawed world where power is a corrupting force. Any time that too much power gets concentrated in the hands of one group of people it will eventually get abused. That’s just a fact of life. We just saw that illustrated recently at the Internal Revenue Service and at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Because of that threat, we can’t entrust the government with a lot of power over our personal lives just because we “trust” a certain politician or because we agree with his politics. Thomas Jefferson explained it this way (I know this quote is a little tough, but give it a shot and I’ll paraphrase it for you after you're done reading it.):
“[I]t would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights; that confidence is every where the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy, and not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obligated to trust with power; that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no farther, our confidence may go…”
Essentially what Jefferson is saying here is, it would be very dangerous for us to let our trust in certain politicians make us feel like we don’t have to actively protect our rights. It’s that kind of blind trust that always leads to oppressive, abusive government. Freedom only comes from always being attentive to the government’s ability to violate our rights and trying to protect ourselves from it.
Our Constitution was written from that mindset of always being suspicious of government power. That’s why it puts absolute boundaries on how much power the federal government may have that our politicians are never allowed to violate.
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
But in the clip above, President Obama is saying that the Warren court should have disregarded all of that and broken free from the constraints of the Constitution. Those Supreme Court justices knew what was best and they should have imposed it on the American people. According to his worldview, we should just put our blind trust in the right politicians and hope that they are miraculously immune to the corrupting nature of power.
Obama doesn’t see the danger that comes from expanding the power of government. So it shouldn’t be a mystery why he hasn’t had any problem with casually violating the Constitution over and over and over and over and over in order to impose his agenda. After all, in his mind the Constitution should be there to empower government. Not to restrict it.
Fortunately for you and me, our Founders didn’t foolishly write a constitution where the only protection for our freedom relied on the hope that our politicians would be people of honesty and good character. Instead, they gave us a Constitution that deals with the reality that human nature is flawed and politicians are often corrupt. As Thomas Jefferson said:
“In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
In other words, when it comes to something as important as protecting our rights forget about putting your trust in people always doing the right thing. Instead, we should protect our rights by creating a Constitution that puts limits on our politicians that they cannot break free from.
It’s too bad we don’t have a president who understands this concept.
Chad Kent is an author and speaker with a unique style that makes the Constitution simple and fun. Listen to Chad every Saturday during The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze Radio and visit his web site at www.ChadKentSpeaks.com.
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